Indian Muslims in US condemn shrine demolition
Washington, May 4: The Indian Muslim Council in the United States (IMC-US) strongly condemned the demolition of a historical Muslim shrine in Vadodara and the subsequent police shooting at civilian protesters that left at least four dead and several others injured.
The 300-year-old Muslim mausoleum was demolished by the city's municipal authorities on the pretext that it was an ''illegal encroachment,'' prompting India's National Commission on Minorities to state, ''it stands to reason that a structure that pre-dates a master plan cannot be put to the category of 'encroachment', nor could it be the policy of the government to pull down historical monuments.'' ''The systematic demolitions of Muslim monuments and properties under various pretexts have now become an established pattern of the Modi government in its drive to intimidate and ethnically cleanse Muslims from Gujarat,'' Ms Zeeshan Farees, spokesperson for the IMC-US, alleged.
In a statement here yesterday, Ms Farees expressed concern over the news reports that many Muslim localities were allegedly surrounded by mobs belonging to the Hindu extremist groups, and of Muslim individuals being attacked and burnt alive.
However, she supported the calls by the Indian human rights activists for urgent intervention by the Indian government.
''IMC-US based advocacy group, which is dedicated to the promotion of pluralism has launched an action alert in this regard.
Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have amply documented the role played by the local administration and the state police forces in Gujarat, which acted with prejudice and aided mobs in the massacre of Muslims during the 2002 carnage. We need the Federal police forces and military to be called in to bring the situation under control,'' she said.
Mr Narendra Modi was banned last year by the US State Department from entering the US on account of his role in numerous human rights cases.